Islamabad: Pakistan has imposed an international travel ban on Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and 37 activists of his organisation, days after he was placed under house arrest in Lahore.
Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the others were included in the interior ministry’s Exit Control List (ECL), the media reported. The move followed international censure that the government was not doing enough to stop the activities of Saeed, for whom the US has offered a $10 million bounty.
The interior ministry has sent letters to all four provincial governments and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) that list the names of the 38 individuals included in the ECL. All of them were said to be affiliated with the JuD or LeT.
The move effectively bars the individuals from leaving Pakistan, reports said.
On Monday night, authorities placed Saeed and four aides, Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid and Kashif Niaz, under house arrest.
In a notification, the interior ministry said it had placed the JuD and its front organisation, the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), on a “watch list” under the Second Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act. The action was in line with the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1267.
The interior ministry said Saeed, Ubaid, Iqbal, Abid and Niaz were “reportedly active members” of the JuD and FIF. “As such, they must be placed under preventive detention,” it said.
Saeed was detained at the JuD’s main centre at Chowburji in Lahore and taken to his residence in Johar Town, which has been declared a “sub-jail”.
Under the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1267, Pakistan is required to freeze the financial assets, cut off access to arms and bar foreign travel by sanctioned individuals.
Saeed has said he intends to challenge his detention. “My detention orders are unlawful and we will challenge them in court,” he told reporters before he was led away by police on Monday. He claimed the orders for his arrest came “from Delhi via Washington”.
A day after the detentions, the military’s chief spokesman told the media that the move was the result of a “policy decision” taken in the national interest, showing that the powerful military and the civilian government were on the same page on the issue.
A number of hardline and extremist groups have protested against the detention and said the government had given in to pressure from abroad